Luxury tourism packages are also available, that involve special luxury trains such as Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient Express, Golden Chariot, Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Buddhist Circuit Train and it is a partner in the Maharajas' Express operation. The old monk was the only one who knew his source of happiness, and this happy monk was soon made his chief assistant. A year later, while they were spending the rainy season in the royal garden at the kings invitation, the old monk was asked to stay in residence at the palace. The happy monk became the new leader of the group. Tibetan handicraft items including prayer wheels, Buddhist masks and Thangka paintings can be purchased in Ladakh. Handwoven rugs, carpets and shawls are available in a range of prices in Ladakh's markets. The Ladakh tour takes you to the most famous Buddhist monasteries situated on the isolated hillock in the vicinity of the villages.This will be my final posting.
It has been four months since I departed India. In the meantime, I have traveled through Nepal, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. I've seen incredible things, met people from dozens of nations and I've grown to see the world very differently. Below I will summarize my summer and what lies ahead for me, using what I learned about the world and about myself.
Now that the Games have begun, the press has revisited the issue. But India also had some exciting news on Monday. Coming into the Beijing Olympics, India has earned only seventeen medals, ever. To make matters worse, most of those were in Men’s Hockey (Field Hockey), and the Indian Hockey team failed to qualify this year. Bhutan has been known for its focus on nurturing a happy society. With its idea of ‘Gross National Happiness’, a focus on nourishing its cultural roots and a policy towards sustainable economics, the country has attempted to tread a path of balance between embracing a modern way of life and traditional values.
India is a great mélange of people of different faiths, castes, colors, and walks of life. But what strikes me most, today, is their struggles. Hundreds of millions of Indians struggle to survive, earning less than $1 per day, living from hand to mouth. Thousands of Indian children die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea. For many, protein is scarce, clean water is miles away and flush toilets do not exist.
Those who have escaped the trap of poverty no longer struggle to survive. This rising middle class works in India's large government, for its financial and technology sectors, and in tourism and services. For these people, the world is becoming a meritocracy, which incents these Indians to struggle to get ahead. Some Indians claw over each other for greater financial gain, but for the most part, I found Indians to be incredibly honest, just, and caring people, who nonetheless compete for their places in society.
I returned to business school in Chicago this fall and was reminded of different struggles. Business school students also struggle to get ahead: to get a job at the best company, to meet the right people, to make the most money, and so on. My non-business school friends struggle to get ahead in other ways: to buy the big car, get the big promotion, or simply to get enough time off from work to enjoy various leisure activities. Of course, many Americans struggle simply to make ends meet. While this doesn't include sleeping on mud floors or harvesting individual grains of rice by hand, it does include paying for gasoline, day care and the other necessities of American life.
I've left the US for another three months. I will be spending the Aussie summer studying in Sydney, Australia, from where I write today.
I'm struck by the different, or should I say, lack of, struggles here. From what I can tell, Australian workers each make about the same money, get roughly the same number of vacation days, have access to the same (ample) government services, and live pretty much the same lives. No one is rich, but no one is poor either. People are simply… content. (Lately, Australia's biggest struggle has been versus South Africa on the cricket pitch!) This egalitarianism of course stems from Australia's European-style socialism. Since the American-style free market offers greater incentives for effort and risk-taking, Americans are more driven to compete. (And so Americans end up with more stuff, but are we really happy?)
Returning to India, the Indian caste system consists of four major castes and the Dalits (which technically have no caste at all) who sit at the bottom. Above them are the Shudras, or laborers (farmers, artisans, service providers). Next are the Vaishyas (traders), followed by the Kshatriyas (leaders and warriors) and the Brahmins (teachers, scholars and religious leaders).
This is not so unlike the economic hierarchy in the US. But first allow me to cite a wonderful talk I attended earlier this year given by the COO of Chik-Fil-A. He drew a distinction between those workers who seek to create value and those who seek to extract value. The former work to move the world forward; they earn money as a consequence. Most Americans fall into the latter group: people who work to make money and (sometimes) move the world forward as a consequence.
Then, the homeless and other neglected groups in our society are the Dalits. Blue-collar workers are Shudras, and the average American white-collar worker is a trader, or Vaishya. The American equivalents of Kshatriyas are not limited to our political and military leaders, but also include social and cultural leaders such as professional athletes and film celebrities. Today, the Brahmin caste consists of academics and clergy just as before, but I argue it also consists of artists, nurses, non-profit workers, and all those who advance noble causes – people who seek to create value in our society.
There is also a correlation between this structure and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, proposed that people must satisfy their lower-order needs before they seek fulfillment of higher-order needs. People require food, water, and shelter first, followed by safety; only then, he argues, do people seek belonging and esteem. Finally, our highest-order needs are those of self-actualization, including needs for morality and creativity.
The poorest in our societies (in India, the US, or anywhere) primarily seek food, water, shelter and safety. Blue-collar workers seek safety (on the job), belonging (in unions and in their families), and increasingly so, esteem and self-actualization. Businesspeople are typically able to focus on the three highest levels. However, I argue, many Americans feel as though their monetary needs are not being met and therefore dwell on extracting more value from the world. Others feel that they have enough. These people volunteer and work for social justice. They devote themselves to religious life. They draw, sing, and dance. They conduct research and write books. In short, they create value for society.
Happy Wheelsbuddhist Games To Play
This summer I had lots of free time, being many thousands of miles from my friends and work-a-day life in Chicago. Living in a developing nation and coming from the US, I certainly had no day-to-day financial concerns. I felt safe most of the time. Thus, I was able to contemplate issues of family, relationships, and those things that are truly important in life. I explored cultural topics, the arts, spirituality and writing (this blog). It was remarkable how much time I was able to spend at the top of Maslow's pyramid – how this trader suddenly engaged in noble pursuits for his ten weeks abroad.
It was equally remarkable to me how quickly I regressed upon returning to my busy Chicago life this fall. With deadlines, social pressures and little sleep all dragging me down, higher-order undertakings quickly fell by the wayside. (It's no surprise that I required another ‘round-the-world escape to complete this blog.) My brainpower was impaired, the quality of my work product chronically deteriorated.
I hope to relive portions of my 'summer of transcendence' here in Australia. That said I've also discovered that I am a trader, not unlike the Nepalese man in the photo. As a true American, I seek to fulfill most of my needs in the workplace; I thrive on labor, efficiency and the chase. And the moment I clear American customs I become an entrepreneur again. Accordingly, my ingrained workaholism will instantly return, my creativity and general clarity of mind will again decline along with my hours of sleep. In three months' time, I will consciously relegate myself to the lower levels of Dr. Maslow's world.
That may sound a bit depressing, but I don't seek your pity or counsel. As I write above, it's my choice to live in that world. And mind you I won't live there forever – just for a few years while I pursue my entrepreneurial goals. Because, a good entrepreneur doesn't have time for endeavors like contrasting the Indian caste system with Maslow's Hierarchy. He must keep his focus, that is, constantly driving his business forward.
However, having visited the other side I look forward to returning there soon. I certainly have sufficient means to live and work in the upper strata. In fact, I think I'd make a decent 'Brahmin' – perhaps through public service, teaching or philanthropy. (Or writing?) My time as an entrepreneur is a stepping stone to pursuing these higher ideals, someday. I will get there, but not yet… not yet.
Thank you for reading.
Happy Wheelsbuddhist Games Free
Happy Wheelsbuddhist Games GameThis concludes this blog. However, since I am again on hiatus from Chicago, I've decided to continue to write, this time about my days in Australia. I am also taking classes and working on a startup while I'm here, so I will not be writing as frequently as I did this summer (probably only once a week), but I hope you enjoy it: http://summerofoz.blogspot.com